View RSS Feed

Pierre's Tuesday Blog

The Summer of the Sonata - Part Six

Rate this Entry
Summer of the Sonata
“The Summer of the Sonata” Community Project
ISGM Music Library

For our last sonata recital from the Gardner museum, I thought it would be a nice change to not feature a single artist, but rather offer a few sonatas from different composers and instrument combinbations from the Gardner's excellent music library.

Charles Ives' "Concord" Sonata has come to be recognized as perhaps the greatest of American piano works. Largely composed over the years 1911-1915, it contains some of the most radical experiments in harmony and rhythm of its time. He described the sonata as his "impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with Concord, MA, of over a half century ago, [...] undertaken in impressionistic pictures of [Ralph Waldo] Emerson and [Henry David] Thoreau, a sketch of the Alcotts, and a Scherzo supposed to reflect a lighter quality which is often found in the fantastic side of [Nathaniel] Hawthorne."

Carl Reinecke's Sonata for flute and piano in E major fits better in our Friday podcast series which has had more of a nautical flavour for the past few weeks (Rivers, Islands and this week the Sea). It is subtitled "Undine" (a female water spirit) is not programmatic music by any leap of the imagination, but there is something undeniably water-like about much of its music.

One of the pieces of music featured in this Friday's podcast is La mer by Claude Debussy, who is celebrating his 150th birthday next week (August 22nd). It is only fitting that we have some Debussy in our sonata series, and the cello sonata makes today's selections. Although they represent only half of a projected series of works, Debussy's three chamber sonatas bear testimony to the composer's developing identification with a more abstract—that is, less visually, textually, or otherwise extramusically oriented—musical process.

The final selection is a trio sonata by Antonio Vivaldi. In the late Baroque period, the trio sonata was as important a form as the string quartet later became. Younger composers would commonly publish trio sonatas first to exhibit their facility at creating variations, complex counterpoint, and/or to display their individual style. This final sonata of the composer's Opus 1 is a set of variations on the traditional melody La Folia.



Charles Edward IVES (1874-1954)
Piano Sonata No.2: Concord, Mass., 1840-60, S. 88
Jeremy Denk, piano

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910)
Flute Sonata in E Major, Op. 167 ("Undine")
Dora Seres, flute and Emese Mali, piano

Claude DEBUSSY (1862 –1918)
Sonata for cello and piano, in D Minor, L. 135
David Requiro, cello and Elizabeth DeMio, piano

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Trio Sonata in D minor, RV 63 (“La Follia”)
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

August 17, 2012, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "The Beach and the Sea" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel. Read more August 17 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.